Kari is a Nima community member living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a wonderful blog (www.minneceliac.com) where she shares gluten-free recipes and helpful tips. You can also follow her on instagram as she documents her gluten-free journey (@minneceliac)!
What’s your food identity, and how do you maintain it?
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in March 2017 at 37 years old. I am 100% gluten-free and we have a completely gluten-free kitchen in our home. When I’m not at home, I am extremely careful about where I choose to eat out (which I love to do); I make sure they have a good track record, that they offer a good variety of gluten-free foods, understand cross-contamination, and that I always have my Nima. Thankfully, gluten is the only thing I have an issue with.
What are some of your hobbies or interests?
I love to travel! I’m also a bit of a reality-TV junkie. 😉
My blog includes recipes that are very special to my family. My mom passed away from breast cancer six years ago and she left us a cookbook she put together that is filled with all the recipes that she used to make. I am going through that cookbook and converting them all into gluten-free versions. Baking/cooking and working on the food photography for my blog is one of my favorite things to do! It’s my creative outlet.
What was your food life like before you had your Nima?
I would try to eat out, but it was stressful to not know whether or not what I was eating was actually gluten-free. It’s very easy to eat out if you’re just gluten-free, but it’s the cross-contamination piece that can be an issue with Celiac Disease. It only takes a little bit to get sick and it was nerve-wracking to not know how the food was being prepared when I can’t actually be in the kitchen making it myself.
What’s your food life like now that you have Nima?
Still stressful because I worry about what my Nima is going to say, but now I don’t question for one second if what I am eating is safe or not. I trust Nima 100% that if it says there is ‘gluten found’ that it’s not safe. It has helped me to be more adventurous in the types of restaurants I go to and the places I travel to.
What do you test with Nima? Has there been anything that surprised you wasn’t safe (according to Nima)?
I test just about every time I go out to eat. I don’t really test products I buy because I am very good about reading labels and making decisions on what I deem safe for myself (i.e. if it’s manufactured in the same facility or on shared lines). I try my hardest to buy products that are certified gluten-free.
I was traveling in Quebec City, Canada and visited a restaurant that had many good reviews on Find Me Gluten Free. I tested one of the dishes and it came back with gluten. When I brought it up to the management, they told me they couldn’t guarantee that one of the items in the dish is indeed gluten-free because it’s not made in-house. Seeing how many people went to that restaurant and probably ate that same dish proved that there is no way to know for certain if an item is gluten-free unless you have a way to physically test the food!
What do your friends, family, and/or doctors think about Nima?
My friends and family have been extremely supportive of the Nima and they encourage me to use it when we go out to eat. Everyone at the table is always very interested in how it works and cheers with me when I get that beautiful smiley face! If I’m dining with someone new, they are also very inquisitive and think it’s a very cool little device!
When using Nima at restaurants, what has been your experience? Do you have a favorite Nima related story?
Overall, it’s been great. Most restaurants are extremely interested and want to see the results. Some have even mentioned they’d be interested in getting one for their kitchens. Not one restaurant I’ve been to has questioned the validity of the device and everyone has always been willing to try their hardest to get me food that is safe.
This isn’t necessarily about a specific restaurant…but my kids do eat gluten when we go out to eat because they haven’t shown any signs or symptoms of Celiac yet (fingers crossed). When I get a smiley face on my Nima my 4.5 year old daughter and I do an “air high-five” so that I don’t get any crumbs on my hands. It’s just a little thing we do and it’s cute that she “gets” everything that is happening, even at such a young age.
Bonus fun questions:
If you can only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Krispy Kreme donuts. Not necessarily because they’re my favorite, but I think it’s because I can’t have them! I really crave a deep-fried donut, which is really hard to find in a gluten-free version!
If you can only use one spice or condiment what would it be?
Ranch dressing (Tessemae’s is my favorite!).
If you can only choose one restaurant for the rest of your life where would it be?
We have a restaurant here in Minneapolis called Hola Arepa where they serve Venezuelan corn cakes stuffed with meat and cheese and delicious sauces.They are 99% gluten-free (with the exception of one dessert) so it’s a place I can go and have anything I want and get something different each time I go. It’s one of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities, gluten-free or not!
– – –Thank you for sharing your story Kari!